Babies with microcephaly are born with abnormally small heads (file photo)
Babies with microcephaly are born with abnormally small heads (file photo)

Zika in the UK: Three cases of virus reported in Yorkshire

'There is no specific treatment and it wears off naturally after two to seven days'

Caroline Mortimer
Sunday 31 July 2016 13:31
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At least three people have been found to be carrying the Zika virus in Yorkshire.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said the patients were believed to have contracted the virus overseas.

Zika has been declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The virus, which is mainly spread by the Aedes aegypt species of mosquito, typically causes only mild symptoms in adults but can cause a major birth defect called microcephaly in the babies of pregnant women who are infected.

Babies with microcephaly are typically born with abnormally small skulls – which can cause the child to suffer convulsions and develop learning difficulties.

Dr Gavin Boyd, of the Calderdale and Huddersfield trust, told The Independent: “There is extremely low risk of contracting Zika virus in the UK as the mosquito that transmits the virus is not present in the UK.

“A small number of cases of sexual transmission globally have been reported but the risk is very very small.

“There is no specific treatment and it wears off naturally after two to seven days. After a diagnosis, patients are cared for by their GPs.”

According to Public Health England, there have been 53 cases of Zika diagnosed in the UK since 2015.

The new cases come as Spain recorded its first instance of a baby being born with the condition to a woman previously exposed to the virus.

The unnamed mother was diagnosed with Zika in May after visiting Colombia but decided to keep her baby, who was born in Barcelona on Monday.

There have been 190 known cases of ZIka in Spain but only one instance is thought to have been sexually transmitted.

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